The Town Talk from Alexandria, Louisiana on October 9, 1999 · Page 15
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The Town Talk from Alexandria, Louisiana · Page 15

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Alexandria, Louisiana
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Saturday, October 9, 1999
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Page 15
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The Town Talk, Alexandria-Pineville, La. Saturday, October 9, 1999 B-5 Sports in Brief O Auto Racing Rain forces postponement of Friday's NHRA qualifying Rain forced NHRA officials to postpone Friday's qualifying for the 12th annual AutoZone Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Memphis Qualifying for the $1.7 million race, the 19th nf 9.9. ovpnts in tho tLin mil. lion NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series, was scheduled to resume taiuraay wiui sessions ior au live NHRA pro categories. , Final eliminations are set for Sunday. Schumacher will drive in final two Formula One races Two-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher, sidelined since breaking a leg in July, feels better after testing and will return to his r errari ior me iinai two races or tne season. i nave reconsidered my decision," Schumacher said Friday. "I think I was too hasty and I felt sorry soon afterwards. I feel fit enough to be able to drive along and step on the gas." The German will return to competition Oct. 17 in the Grand Prix of Malaysia, men ne wiu drive m the season-ending Grand Prix of Japan Oct. 31. Schumacher unofficially broke the track record Thursday on the nuiaiiu uuuuu, ueaiing teammate Jiddie Irvine. Basketball Bill Russell re-signs with Celtics Bill Russell has signed with the Boston Celtics. Not a new Bill Russell. THE Bill Russell. Regarded as one of the great players in NBA history, Russell will try to neip tne team regain some ot the glory it knew when he was its star cen ter tnree decades ago. Beginning Monday, Russell will work periodically with coach Rick Pitino's players and have a role in team marketing. "Returning to Boston means so many things to me," Russell, 65, said in a statement released by the team. "They're talented, and they have the ability to be winners. If I can be of any help, I'll try. "In addition to skills work, Coach has asked me to share with the team my views on winning," Russell said. "To me, it has always been, and remains about the ABCs attitude, brams and commitment." Russell won 11 NBA championships in 13 years as a player with the Celtics. Cycling Cancer survivor buys Armstrong's Tour de France jersey A testicular cancer survivor has become the new owner of the yellow jersey Lance Armstrong won as Tour de France champion. Blaine Rollins of Denver won Armstrong's jersey with a bid of $20,500 in an Internet auction that lasted 22 days, the same duration as the famous race. The auction benefitted the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which is dedicated to fighting urological cancer. Rollins, 32, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in April 1998 and recovered after surgery and chemotherapy one month later. "I was interested in the jersey because I was inspired by Lance's recovery and attempt to rejoin cycling after what he had been through," Rollins said. "I am exited now to have a piece of one of the most inspiring sport ing achievements of my time. , Armstrong, 27, learned in 1996 that he had testicular cancer, which spread to his bones and brain. He underwent aggressive chemotherapy and three operations, and in February 1997 was cancer-free. In July, Armstrong became the second American to win the Tour de France. Football Whitsell, Saints' first Pro Bowler, dies Dave Whitsell, a former Chicago Bear and an original member of the New Orleans Saints, died early Thursday morning at Kenner Regional Medical Center after a long battle with cancer. ' Whitsell, 65, was diagnosed with colon and prostate cancer in 1995 and had undergone surgery and several treatments. :It's almost a blessing because the man was suffering so much," said Saints offensive coordinator Danny Abramowicz, a former teammate, who visited Whitsell on Tuesday. i. "He was always upbeat," Bill Cody, a former Saints linebacker and teammate of Whitsell's, said. "When he got sick, it didn't change him. You get around him and he still had the great stories, the love of football and the respect of his friends. We were a bunch of misfits that first year. We really enjoyed ourselves, and Davey was right in the middle of it." Whitsell played with the Saints for three years, including the inaugural season of 1967, when he set a team record for interceptions (10) that still stands. He was voted to the Pro Bowl that season, the first Saint to achieve that honor, and finished his Saints career with 19 interceptions, fourth on the club's all-time list. Golf Byrum's 67 gives him second-round lead . Tom Byrum succeeded where no one else could Friday, shooting a 4-under 67 in the second round of the Michelob Championship to take a one-shot lead over blistering Mike Weir, Notah Begay and Scott Gump. On a day when the likes of Nick Faldo, Corey Pavin and others made moves and then faltered, Byrum overcame a double-bogey on his seventh ' hole with four birdies coming in to be the only player to get better than 5 r under and make it stick. " "I'm just happy to be here," Byrum said after reaching the midpoint at 6 under on a day when the 6,853-yard River Course at Kingsmill frustrated most of the field. "The way my year's gone, I haven't been in this position a lot." Fleisher. Green tied for lead after first round . Bruce Fleisher has been nearly unbeatable on the Senior PGA Tour this year. Hubert Green has struggled to stay on leaderboards. Though they've taken different paths, the old buddies ended up in the same spot Friday. Fleisher and Green were co-leaders after the first round of the Transamerica seniors tournament, shooting 6-under 66s on a warm, wind-free day. They held a 1-shot lead over Dale Douglass, Howard Twitty and Walter Hall in an event that includes nine of the top 10 money-winners on the senior tour this year. Fleisher has five victories and leads the money list with $1.95 million in his first year on the tour, after a mostly undistinguished PGA Tour career , that featured just one title in more than 400 events. Baena and Lindback share lead after second round Rookie Marisa Baena shot a 4-under 68 Friday and Jenny Lidback had a 69 and the South American natives shared the lead after the second round of the $725,000 LPGA First Union Betsy King Classic. The 22-year-old Baena, of Colombia, birdied three of her final four holes for a 36-hole total of 138 at the 6,085-yard Berkleigh Country Club course. The three-time Arizona All-America's promising career has been detoured by a shoulder injury and an ovarian cyst that caused dramatic weight loss. She is 107th on the money list after missing seven cuts in 14 events, but did finish a career-best fourth at the State Farm Rail Classic in early September. Hockey Ottawa fans sue Senators star for holdout Ottawa Senators star Alexei Yashin may have thought his latest holdout would net him a big payday. , A But by failing to honor the last year of his contract, he could cost him-i self even more. j An Ottawa hockey fan filed a $27.5 million lawsuit against Yashin and his agent this week, accusing the two of interfering with the contractual relationship between the Senators and their fans. The unprecedented claim is far from an empty-netter, but the plaintiffs - the class action could grow to include 11,000 season ticket-holders - want athletes everywhere to know that the public's tolerance is limited. "No doubt your situation will be looked upon with interest by other professional athletes," Arthur Cogan, the fans' attorney, wrote Yashin. "Perhaps the time will come when athletes in all sports will not act with impunity when the decide to intentionally breach their obligations and consider only themselves. "The fans who pay serious money for a first-class product are directly affected by arbitrary and wrongful conduct by a professional athlete. I strongly believe that the rights and interests of fans do count and must be taken into consideration." ; Ali's daughter wins quickly in pro debut VERONA, N.Y. (AP) They called Muhammad Ali "The Greatest." Just call his daughter "The Quickest." With her father watching from ringside, 21-year-old Laila Ali made her pro boxing debut by knocking out April Fowler at 31 seconds of the first round Friday night before .about 2,800 fans at the Turning Stone Casino Convention Center. "I feel good and I'm ready for more," Ali said. "I'm kind of disappointed it ended so quick." After the fight, Ali said her father told her he was proud of her, adding: "From the look in his eyes, I knew he was proud of me. He was surprised." It was no fight at all. Fowler, a waitress from Michigan City, Ind., was inept in the ring, often turning her head as she punched. Ali speared her with several jabs and then knocked her out with a left-right to the jaw. "I don't even know which punch I did knock her out with. The first thing I asked was, 'What did I knock her out with? Which punch did it?'" she said. When Fowler hit the floor, Ali, who weighed Pro Boxing 166 pounds, stood over her with her fist 'cocked, reminiscent of how her father stood over a KO'd Sonny Listen in the first round of their rematch in 1965. Ali and his wife did not attend a post-fight news conference, but Laila's sister, Hana, and another of Ali's daughters, Mia, attended. So did Veronica Kennedy, Laila's mother who was Ali's third wife. "I thought it was great," Kennedy said. "She actually looked like her father when she boxed." While the daughter was in the co-featured match, it was the father who drew the crowd. "I thought my legs would be shaking, but they weren't," she said of her debut. Her mother said she had a feeling of deja vu. "Because I've been there before, it reminded me of the past," she said. Shortly before 9 p.m., as the ring announcer acknowledged "a man who needs no introduction," the crowd rose to its feet, cheering. Muhammad Ali then entered the ring with his wife Lonnie. Also accompanying him was Hana. Laila's mother sat on the other side of the ring from Ali. Laila Ali, who owned a nail salon in Los Angeles, said she got interested in boxing when she took it up as exercise to lose weight. It has been suggested that she is exploiting one of the most famous names in sports. In a TV appearance earlier in the week, however, she said, "It is my name, too, so I don't feel I'm exploiting anything." Fowler, fighting for just the second time she was knocked out in the first round 18 months ago had said she expects to be back serving tables at her restaurant Saturday night. Fowler, who is divorced, also said she plans to celebrate her son's ninth birthday Sunday. The fight preceded a 10-round heavyweight match between Donovan "Razor" Ruddock and Jose Ribalta. Ruddock knocked down Ribalta twice and stopped him at 1:49 of the first round. There was no question, however, that the main attraction was the Ali name. O I - A ' ; f tt. . - Associated Press New York's Rick Reed fires a pilch Friday night during the Mets' 9-2 victory over Arizona. Reed allowed two hits in six innings for the win as New York leads the series, 2-1 . Mets O continued from B-3 ring to Piazza's 40 home runs and 124 RBIs. "I can handle the bat. I can handle myself defensively. But I'm not Mike. We all know that." Turner Ward had a two-run, pinch-hit homer for the Diamondbacks, but little else went right for them. Arizona hurt itself by making three errors and issuing eight walks. It certainly wasn t characteris tic of the way we've been play ing," Arizona manager Buck Showalter said. Dan Plesac, who began his major league career in 1986, made his first postseason appearance and it was a disaster. Brought on to retire left-handed hitters they batted .186 against him this year the 37-year-old lefty gave up the game-breaking singles to Olerud and Hamilton. You can't control what hap pens once tne Dan leaves your hand," Plesac said. "What matters is results." Omar Daal beat Reed twice in the regular season, but could not duplicate that success. Agbayani led off the second with a single and a two-out walk to Pratt set up an RBI single by Rey Ordonez. The Mets made it 3-0 in the third on Olerud's RBI single and a run-scoring grounder by Robin Ventura. Arizona had a chance to turn an inning-ending double it I'm not Mike. I can handle the bat. I can handle myself defensively. But I'm not Mike. We all know that. Todd Pratt Mets' backup catcher on the injured Mike Piazza play on Ventura's ball, but shortstop Andy Fox overthrew Daal covering first base. Daal pounded his hand on the dirt as the ball sailed out of play. Ward batted for Daal and homered in the fifth. That was the lone mistake by Reed, who allowed four hits. Olerud struck out with the bases loaded to end the fourth, then the Mets put it away in the sixth against Darren Holmes and Plesac. Walks to Pratt and pinch-hitter Bobby Bonilla set up Henderson's RBI single, and Plesac allowed run-scoring hits by Olerud, Roger Cedeno and Hamilton. 15 ism Jordan continued from B-3 who is hitting .500 in the series. On a 1-2 pitch, Jordan sliced a double past a diving Bagwell at first, the ball settling in the right-field, corner while the Braves dugout erupted in celebration. "If I'm a pitcher, I want him to hit a really tough pitch," Dierker said, defending his decision. "He just sticks his bat out and rolls it down the first-base line." Millwood set Houston down in order to complete the marathon, the towel-waving crowd at the Astrodome reduced to exhaustion. The 12 innings were a record for an NL division series game and a big blow to Houston, which is winless in four previous playoff appearances. Atlanta seemed on the verge of victory in the loth. With one out, Gerald Williams reached on an infield single and was replaced by the pinch-runner Nixon, who stole second and went to third on catcher Tony Eusebio's throwing error. But Boone struck out and after walks to Chipper Jones and Jordan Andruw Jones lined out to left with the bases loaded. In the bottom half, Houston loaded the bases with nobody out and the Braves brought in their closer, John Rocker. "If you can think of a tougher situation than that, let me know," Rocker said. "I wasn't nervous. Actually, I was kind of selfish. I thought to myself, 'That's not my run. I'm not going to be the loser.'" Rocker got two straight force outs at the plate the second being a game-saving stop by Weiss on Eusebio's line drive up the middle. The Atlanta shortstop sprawled out on his stomach like a soccer goalie, his glove nearly ripped off his hand by the ball. Weiss leaped to his feet and threw out Ken Caminiti at home with catcher Eddie Perez tagging the plate with only the tip of his toe. "Walt Weiss made the single-greatest play I've ever seen in my life," Chipper Jones said. "The ball comes off the bat and I thought, 'It's over.' But somehow he comes up with it. It was unbelievable." Rocker then struck out Ricky Gutierrez, pumping his fist as he ran back to the dugout, and picked up the win with another scoreless inning. Atlanta struck out 18 times against Houston pitchers, a record for the division series and all but one of them swinging. The previous mark: 17 strikeouts by the Astros in Game 1 of their 1998 division series with San Diego. The way Hampton was pitching, it appeared Houston would move within a game of advancing to the NL championship series. The Astros ace cruised into the sixth with a 2-0 lead, having allowed only three singles and striking out eight. With Boone at second and two outs, Hampton pitched around Chipper Jones, walking him on a 3-2 pitch. On the next pitch, Jordan sent a shot deep into the left-field seats only his second homer since Aug. 15. Jordan's right hand has been aching since he was hit by a pitch on June 22. He had only one homer in his final 139 at-bats of the regular season. The Astros evened the score during an excruciating seventh. The Braves tied a division series record by using four pitchers, including Game 1 starter Maddux, making only the sixth relief appearance of his career. But Houston made the best move, inserting Billy Spiers as a pinch hitter. He came through with a run-scoring single to left-center against Mike Remlinger. 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